(PHOENIX, AZ, 8/26/08) – The Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) said today that Muslim workers at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport will be allowed to wear uniforms that accommodate their religious need for modest attire.
A major contractor providing janitorial services at the airport had recently issued a “mandatory dress code” that required wearing pants and a tucked-in shirt. The employees were allegedly told that unless they complied with this new policy, they would lose their jobs, be transferred or suffer a cut in pay.
A CAIR-AZ representative and members of the Somali Association of Arizona met with city and airport officials to discuss a request for accommodation by more than 30 Muslim workers at the airport who believed the new policy violated their religious principles.
After preliminary meetings with CAIR-AZ and the EEOC, the workers were able to come up with a uniform they believe accommodates their religious needs and the legitimate needs of the company. The new uniform includes a black skirt, an apron and an Islamic head scarf, or hijab. Airport officials were shown the new uniform and approved its use. The EEOC subsequently signed off on the uniform change.
“We would like to thank all those whose hard work and cooperation helped resolve this issue in a mutually-agreeable manner,” said CAIR-AZ Office Manager Lisa Gopalan.
She said employers who have questions about how to accommodate Muslim employees may contact the Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group.
CAIR offers a booklet called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-AZ Office Manager Lisa Gopalan, 602-881-1164, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org